The findings are in.

My exploratory yet exhaustive qualitative research into the state of the UK-US Special Relationship, conducted over the past few days under a number of strict scientific guidelines (“I will buy you a drink if you answer my question” – “Fine”), resulted in an overwhelming:


The question being: do you think, following the Government’s defeat last week over Syria, that the UK is no longer America’s closest ally and friend?

The initial reaction of “Well, that’s just dumb” was followed by an envious respect for a parliamentary process that allowed for a binding vote on the issue of military action.

front-page-8-30-2013The data collected from the sample during the latter, significantly more boozy, stages of interviews served only to confirm what I have thought all along: that the Special Relationship is generally beloved of Americans, in the same way that they might adore a particular Great Aunt.

Those I spoke to – the sample, I should point out, was taken from age groups 20 to 29 and 30 to 39, educated to degree level and in employment – were rather astonished at the suggestion that the relationship between our two countries could be damaged by the intrigues of the past week. Most believed that the UK had done the US a favour by pushing Obama into seeking a Congressional vote on military action and, whilst acknowledging that this may have caused a fairly decent diplomatic version of brain freeze, they saw no reason to drop the UK from their in-case-of-emergency list.

A quick recap of the tear-stained reaction from the popular press back home (‘Twelve Reasons We Totally Just Got Dumped’) was met with further quizzical looks and some amusing drunken listicals of just how much us Brits are adored: “You have a Queen! I love your accent! Churchill! The Olympics! The prime minister’s question thing in the Parliament!” History, it seems, weighs heavier than current events, and the will of the people is powerfully attractive. Fret no more, UK. We’re still BFF’s.


This past weekend we celebrated Labor Day, a public holiday established by the Central Labor Union and the Knights of Labor in 1887 and dedicated to the ‘strength and esprit de corp of the trade and labor organizations’.

My earliest awareness of trade unions came from my mother, who recounted stories of my grandfather, a coal miner, enjoying paid holidays for the first time in the 1940’s. Thus I have a sentimental attachment to the organisations that fought for better pay and conditions like sick pay and maternity leave. It has been an eye-opener to me that, here, unions are scarce to be found in the private sector, and those that are active in the public sector are apparently mistrusted because ugh unions, you guys holding the economy hostage with your shitty wage demands and your defence of workers’ rights and your *shudder* collective bargaining ugh shame on you.

Ok, ok so some unions these days keep a closer eye on their own preservation than on the interests of their members. Meanwhile, here in my little corner of the non-unionised private sector, the concept of being ’employed at will’, with little or no recourse should I be fired, has gone some way to curtail my daily swearage quota, cursing being rather frowned upon in the workplace. By the time I return home at the end of each working day, my little body is bursting with pent-up profanities, and the slightest annoyance – a misplaced book, a dropped spoon – is met with a stream of “fuckshitbollockfuckarse”.

Photo by Sarah Anne Hughes.

Photo by Sarah Anne Hughes.

Labor Day is of course a decent excuse to mark the last gasp of summer and get together with friends to drink beer and cook giant slabs of meat on bbq grills the size of my first flat. It is also when public swimming pools are open for one final weekend – for humans, that is. After Labor Day, D.C. enjoys the charming tradition of turning some pools over to dogs. Doggie Day Swim gives dogs a day of their own for fun and games in the water.


The weeks leading up to Labor Day often see employers inviting employees over to their homes for an evening of drinks and forced bonhomie, a social occasion to rally the troops for the hard work to come in the autumn.

It’s a nice and generous gesture, certainly. But bosses often live in suburban areas outside D.C. – Maryland or Virginia – and with little or no access to public transport, employees must car-share there and back. I don’t drive, and I would rather eat a herpes sandwich than get in a car with someone who has been drinking. So when the invitation came, I checked if anyone was intending to stay sober (nope), made my excuses and skipped the evening.

Drink driving is a thing here. In 2010, more than 10,000 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes; that’s one person every 51 minutes. The US has some way to go until it reaches the zenith of smuggery we enjoy in the UK, where drink driving is seen as a crime so heinous it’s up there with kicking puppies. Blind puppies. Wearing tiny hats.

A co-worker once defended her practice of drink driving by telling me “Well, you smoke!” Yes, love, but I’m only killing myself.


While on the subject of horrific ways to die that leave families destroyed and communities devastated, here’s a fun fact for you. Maryland Police have received 85,000 gun-purchase applications this year so far. That’s an increase of 15,000 on the number of applications they received for the whole of last year.

Why the sudden rush? In a direct response to the Newtown school shooting, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley introduced tough new legislation aimed at preventing gun violence. The law will come into effect on 1 October and will, amongst other things, limit handgun magazines and add over 40 guns to a list of banned assault weapons.

Of course this has caused a bit of a kerfuffle with the gun lobby. The NRA plan to challenge the new law in the courts, and a local sheriff, suggesting the law is unconstitutional, has said he will refuse to enforce parts of it.

Possibly the best response came from a hilarious pro-gun advocate who applauded the declaration by the naughty sheriff by comparing him favourably to the blind loyalty displayed by Nazis working in death camps ha ha stop me if you’ve heard this one before.


Finally, an apology. It has been a few months since I updated this blog. Frankly, the political world hasn’t been much fun recently (also, the new season of Masterchef started). But in the spirit of Robert the Bruce, I thought I’d give it another go.

Comments welcome (also, drinks and gifts of money).

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

a Washington D.C. diary, of sorts

There is a man who walks very slowly down my street every morning. He never walks on the pavement, always the road, keeping close to the parked cars. I spotted him once downtown. He’s not hard to miss. Dressed completely in black, he has a large sports bag slung across his back and a scarf wrapped around his head.  He walks with a gait that suggests he is listening to a particularly mournful Billie Holiday song; perhaps he has earphones on under his scarf. He looks like a weary ninja.

Never on the pavement, always the road. I want to stop him and ask, why do you never walk on the pavement?


I generally try not to think too much about paths, and choices. I rarely look more than a few months ahead. I fall into jobs. Trip into relationships. Stumble over music and literature. I like to think this is because I am the right-handed child of left-handed parents; my sense of direction is so skewed that I am happy to let the waves of life push and pull me every which way until they dump me where they think best.

If I am to be honest, I’m a lazy toad who can’t be arsed to make decisions and would much rather someone else make them for me. Particularly because then I would have some other fuckwit to blame when things go wrong.

Interestingly, I suppose, this is not a true reflection of my behavior once I have started a job into which I have fallen. I am rather decisive then. I have had jobs where the decisions I made, had they been the wrong ones, could have resulted in major pointing-and-shouting fuck-ups for the entire world to see. But that’s work. This is life.

So. I continue to take small hops from pavement to road to pavement.


Moving to D.C. was a classic Hebe hop. Two years on, it has proved a pretty epic leap.

If the great Ed McBain were alive today, and so minded, he might describe D.C. thus: the city is a woman, envied for her beauty and her history, despised for her politics, smothered by the constant attention of opinion. In the game of ‘shag, marry, murder’, D.C. is the woman men want to sleep with solely for the satisfaction of bitching about it afterwards.

A few months after my arrival, standing smoking in the street, I thought ok city, here I am: do your worst. Moments later, as I bent down to put the cigarette out, I got whacked in the face by an angry, ranting homeless man wielding a piss-stained blanket.


My current job is not as stretching as my last. This enormous change in circumstance, with its sudden abundance of free time, was not unlike a baby discovering its feet for the first time: what the hell are these and what do I do with them? So I walk. And walk. And walk.

This city was built for walking. Tree-lined streets and wide boulevards lead to monuments and museums, galleries and gardens and parks, bars and restaurants and roof-top terraces, theatres and clubs. And stretching above, unmarked by skyscrapers, the vast, forever-blue sky.

My favourite walk, the one I insist all visitors take with me, is along Q Street from 14th all the way to Wisconsin Avenue, block after block of beautiful row houses, higgledy piggledy with turret windows and French slate and verdigris, all shades of pink and cream and brown and lemony-yellow. With the advent of spring, the tiny front yards are filled with pansies and hellebores and tulips, the pavements sticky with browning magnolia petals.

Of course it’s not all pretty. The city has its problems, as all major cities do. The homeless guy who loiters on the roundabout near my apartment, bawdily wishing me a good evening as he pees into a trash can (I am always amazed he can do this hands-free). The panhandlers, standing wearily with arms outstretched on the corners of cross streets, the invisible lines encircling them drawn by the passersby – we, me – who give them a wide berth.

The underfunded public transport system, the lack of decent housing in poorer neighbourhoods, the reliance on cheap, unhealthy fast food for want of fresh fruit and vegetables, the city’s constant struggle for power over its own budget, the disenfranchisement of the entire population and the battle for statehood … I could go on. You get the picture.


Where else but in this small city of 600,000 people, where inhabitants change from year to year as jobs reach the end of contracts, would I meet and become friends with people far removed from my usual group? In London, you have your friends. You don’t need any more. Here, you are open to widening the circle. “My blog,” I told a departing friend, “is called ‘New Friends, Better Friends’, not ‘New Friends … Oh Fuck Off Then’.”

I have even made friends through social media, something I would never have done back home. “Do not,” warned someone as I went to meet a couple I had chatted to on Twitter, “go back to their apartment. They might want a threesome.” My new friends were forever after known as The Thruple.

As for dating. Well. I live in a gaybourhood where the only single, heterosexual men in my age group are homeless. This is a young person’s city. A badly dressed young person’s city.  Take a walk downtown on a Saturday night if you fancy a little DIY retinal surgery.


Although no longer employed in the world of politics, regular readers of this blog (er, there’s an email sign-up button, yeah? USE IT) will be aware of my continuing fascination/borderline stalking of all things political.

Exchanging one capital city, with its petulant, shouty politics, for another with a political system more baffling than a denim two-piece and the kinds of personalities you might meet in a focus group on a Saturday night, has been revelation. Not perhaps on the scale of the Second Coming, fair enough, but there are parallels with the struggle between good and evil. Also, a necessary reminder that politics doesn’t have to always be serious. Because, Newt.


I love this city. It has helped me to understand that whether you walk on the pavement or on the road, the main thing is to keep going. There’s probably a bar somewhere at the end of the block.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Republican Party: dead or still twitching?

Less than three in ten Americans view the Republican Party in a favourable light, a CNN poll found this week. And in other breaking news, I’m still flat-chested.

Timed to coincide with the publication of the GOP’s 2012 election ‘autopsy‘ (their word – because why wouldn’t you name your report into what went wrong with the term for a thorough examination of a corpse to determine the manner of its death?), the CNN poll came a day after the end of the party’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the annual national gathering of key figures and activists.

If GOP Chair Reince Priebus needed further evidence to illustrate his autopsy findings that the party is “scary“, “narrow-minded” and “out of touch” – other of course than the 65 million two-fingers the party received in November – the conference provided him with a laboratory of living, breathing examples that may prove that Mary Shelley was right all along.

Giving a platform to the likes of professional lunatics Sarah Palin, the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre and Donald Trump (and it doesn’t matter that Trump spoke to an empty room in a graveyard slot, the fact that he was invited while New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was not speaks louder than a tourist on the metro) was like poking a corpse with a stick. Yep, it’s still dead.


Rand Paul departs the Capitol after his filibuster by @Dharapak

Or is it? The conference didn’t serve just to amplify the death rattle. The ‘future’ of the GOP, Senators Marco Rubio (for the young ‘progressives’) and Rand Paul (for the awkward squad), gave rousing speeches although neither said much of great interest; it is far too early for them to do anything other than give their supporters a little cheer to show the party hasn’t completely flatlined. Rand was the winner of the CPAC straw poll, the end-of-conference indicator of conservative feeling, although this was off the back of his impressive 13-hour filibuster over drones, so an unsurprising victory.

There are parallels with the Tories in 1997. Deeply unpopular, the party faced an overwhelming battle after it was dumped out of office to prove it was in touch with an electorate that considered it nasty, uncaring and old-fashioned.

The difference here is that the Tory party recognised this and worked to incorporate compassionate conservatism into its narrative; the GOP as it stands now seems too in thrall to its financial backers, and either oblivious to, or too frightened to acknowledge, the significant changes in the social issues important to the country in which it lives, a country recognising, for example, the rights of people to legally declare their love, the unfathomable power of the gun lobby, and the rights of women to have control over their own bodies.

Perhaps I am being unfair. Indeed there has been an encouraging softening by some in the party of the once-rigid opposition to citizenship for undocumented workers, and the autopsy report reflects this. And perhaps it is too soon. It is, after all, a mere four months since the election. The GOP autopsy does at least hold a mirror to the face of the party.

The GOP has an opportunity to apply the ideals and values that once made it a popular and respected party to the brave new world that it aspires to lead.  If the party doesn’t have the courage to ruthlessly jettison those who are determined to keep it strapped to the gurney – and that includes its current leadership – it will remain encumbered by restraints, seeing just one thing from the low point afforded by its more extreme base.

Good view from back there, yeah?


By Pete Souza

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments


I originally wrote this post some time ago, but recent events mean it is time for an update.

So. A wee bit of sheep offal and some oats and they shit themselves.

You can buy a hunting rifle and a pound of bath salts off some bloke down the high street, but can you get any haggis here? NO YOU CAN’T. It is banned.

Robbie Burns Day without haggis is like the nativity without Jesus. Clearly I can’t just pop out and pick up a bag of offal, so making my own is out of the question (the question being, can I cook? no I can’t).

look. at. that.

fuck yes

A ban on food made with sheep lungs has been in place since 1971. The BSE crisis in the late 1980’s confirmed American opinion that any meat products coming out of the UK were patently oozing with uppity maggots. For forty years, expats in the US have been denied the right to a proper Burns supper followed by a wee spot of haggis hurling. They could, I suppose, make do with a popular American dish called chitterlings, which is steamed pig intestines that have to be cooked with half an onion to mitigate the unpleasant odour.

Something else that has been denied to a large number of people for many years is the right to vote in Washington. Yes, 600,000 people are disenfranchised in the nation’s capital. You can pick up your jaw from the floor now.

Residents are allowed to vote in Presidential elections every four years (the recent election saw a 92 per cent turnout), but they do not have voting representation in Congress. This is because, for various historical reasons I won’t go into for fear of getting it wrong and looking like an arse, D.C. is not a State.

The Obama administration attempted in 2009 to legislate to enfranchise D.C. residents, but couldn’t get the votes needed after the Senate adopted a Republican amendment to the bill to repeal, amongst other things, the ban on semi-automatic weapons in D.C.

Oh yes. Votes for guns. It would be like adding an amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill stipulating that a surgeon must get his entire head inside a bong for at least half an hour before scrubbing in. He’d be asking the nurse to pass the biscuits rather than the scalpel.

But things could be changing. President Obama has signaled that he may use his second term to right this wrong. His first step has been to add D.C. license plates with the city’s slogan ‘Taxation Without Representation’ to the fleet of presidential cars. The White House said in a statement: “President Obama has lived in the District now for four years, and has seen first-hand how patently unfair it is for working families in D.C. to work hard, raise children and pay taxes, without having a vote in Congress.

license platesThis has given statehood advocates fresh hope, and lawmakers have introduced bills to make D.C. the nation’s 51st state. Senator Tom Carper said that D.C. citizens “serve in our military, fight in our wars, die for our country, and pay federal taxes. But when it comes to having a voice in Congress, suddenly these men and women do not count. … It is incumbent upon those of us who enjoy the right and the privilege of full voting rights to take up the cause of our fellow citizens here in the District of Columbia and find a solution.

In the UK we take for granted our right to parliamentary representation. There are few things in life that I get rather uptight about, but the failure to take part in the democratic process is one of them (other things guaranteed to drive me to a seething fury include people who wear sunglasses on the Metro – can i give you a hand? oh sorry, you’re not blind – and Kay Burley). I love voting. My nose gets all crinkly when I walk into a polling station. I remember sitting in my parents’ car when I was little, waiting for them while they voted and having that deliciously shivery feeling that something very important was happening.

Voting provides you with the opportunity to influence long-term political direction and as a massive bonus it gives you the right to have a bloody good rant about the government. What, you didn’t vote? Well shut your pie-hole, then. You are hereby considered mute.

Unless of course you live in D.C. where you don’t even have the choice. No vote, no voice, no haggis. Not yet, anyway.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

glowing in the dark

6.30am on Monday morning, and the temperature was at freezing point. I had lost all feeling in my toes and my face was numb. One of thousands of volunteers at President Obama’s inauguration, I had been on the National Mall for two hours, shivering, hopping from foot to foot like a penguin, willing the sun to come up and give me the illusion of heat. The organisation of so many volunteers that morning had been a somewhat haphazard affair and I was, to be honest, a tiny bit fractious.

And yet.

I am just so goddamn happy to be here!“, exclaimed the woman, clutching a large American flag to her chest, smothering the Obama and Biden badges pinned to her coat. I pointed her towards the entrance.

I can’t believe it! I’m here! I’M HERE TO SEE MY PRESIDENT!” She yelled the final words, tipping her head back and waving her flag skywards.

Imagine you are that woman. You have travelled for two days to get to your nation’s capital. You have shelled out to pay for an expensive hotel room you will barely spend time in. It’s cold and dark, and the only warm place within reach is a portaloo. The badges on your coat are the only things that are stopping your heart from bursting out of your chest.

Now replace the word ‘President’ with the words ‘Prime Minister’. Can you imagine feeling such utter joy at the prospect of witnessing your elected political leader take office?

A presidential inauguration may be what Tony Blair might like to call ‘the people’s coronation’, and of course the President of the United States is also the head of state and we have one of those too; indeed the sight of Obama and the First Lady dancing at the inaugural balls was not unlike the tradition from centuries past of the monarch eating dinner as hundreds of ordinary people filed past to gawp at him or her.

But what I saw on Monday morning was a different kind of patriotism, one owned and not bestowed. Fought for, not inherited. Perhaps layer upon layer of British history had made me blasé, arrogant even, about our political system. Perhaps my time spent working in the center of power had diluted the awe and wonder I should feel at a process so precious, so personal to millions across this country.

The tens of thousands of people who stood between me and the President on the National Mall couldn’t block my view of a country that retains a youthful exuberance and fierce pride in its elected leaders and the system that elevated them.

The woman with her flag and her badges – I didn’t catch her name – took my weary, cold cynicism and punched it in the face. And while my toes continued to burn in the dipping temperature and I eventually lost all feeling in my nose, I had a little glow for the rest of the day.

inauguration II

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

You just put your lips together and blow, Joe

The trombone.

It is not, on first sight, the sexiest of instruments. It is played by making the air inside the instrument vibrate, and has a sliding mechanism to change the pitch. Typically positioned towards the back of an orchestra, the trombone is up against the flighty, flirty violin, the seductive flute. A stalwart of the brass family, at one point in its long history the poor thing was called the sackbut (literally ‘push-pull’), the name producing a number of delicious variations such as sackbutte, sagbut, shagbolt, sacabushe and shakbusshe.

Last week, I watched the trombone section from the National Symphony Orchestra play in a bar on U Street as part of their ‘In Your Neighbourhood’ community engagement program. They did a nice line in Mendelssohn and Beethoven, got the audience swaying with some Gershwin, then surprised the crowd with their take on Lady Gaga, The Police and the James Bond theme tune. It was ace. I shall not be able to look at a trombone in the same way again.

A few days later, humming a Gershwin number, I read an article on White House efforts on gun control and it struck me: Vice President Joe Biden is the trombone of the White House orchestra. JOE BIDEN IS A BIG OLD SEXY TROMBONE.

President Obama may be the conductor and Hillary the first violinist, but Joe is the reliable, solid man at the back, the longest-serving member of the orchestra, occasionally let loose to perform a solo piece to entertain the audience.

A fixture in the Senate for over thirty years, Biden can claim to be the most experienced politician in the White House. Margaret Thatcher famously proclaimed Every Prime Minister needs a Willie“: Joe Biden is Obama’s Willie. His empathy and relaxed manner, his ability to connect with blue and white-collar America, hides a rough determination and ambition that has carried him successfully through four decades of politics. He is the behind-the-scenes point man, sent by Obama to lead negotiations on complicated and sensitive issues, most recently with respect to the fiscal cliff and now on gun control. Biden knows how to play his adversaries and his colleagues, often winning with charm and sense rather than relying on politico-babble and blunt comments (although he can do blunt pretty well, eh Paul Ryan?); he convinced wavering Democrats on the fiscal cliff talks with “This is Joe Biden and I’m your buddy“.

The sound of a trombone can be brassy, brilliant, powerful and overpowering, yet beguiling and soft when required. The trombonist uses the lips and facial muscles in a particular way to play the instrument. This is called the embouchure. Biden is a master of this. He is guaranteed to open his yap and embouchure the pants off a grandmother, or utter completely the wrong thing at the wrong time. Joe being Joe is the trombonist’s version of water build-up in the instrument’s spit valve: it’s gotta come out sometime.

Two of my favourite Joe spit valves:

“Stand up, Chuck, let ’em see ya.” – Joe to Senator Chuck Graham, who is in a wheelchair.

“A man I’m proud to call my friend. A man who will be the next President of the United States — Barack America!” – Joe at his first campaign rally with Barack Obama after being announced as his running mate, 2008.

Biden’s performance during the election campaign and since – saving Obama’s ass by creaming Paul Ryan during their debate, his photo calls with bikers and babies, those aviator sunglasses, his fiscal cliff triumph – has set him on the path of national treasure-hood. If further convincing were needed, look no further than this:

Hot or what. There is even a White House petition for a Joe Show:

We petition the Obama administration to: authorize the production of a recurring television program featuring Vice President Joe Biden.

Vice President Joe Biden has a demonstrated ability to bring people together, whether at the negotiating table or at the neighborhood diner. We, therefore, urge the Obama Administration to authorize the production of a recurring C-SPAN television program featuring the daily activities and interactions of the Vice President with elected officials, foreign dignitaries and everyday American families. Such a program would educate the American public about the duties and responsibilities of their Vice President, while providing a glimpse of the lighthearted side of politics even in the midst of contentious and divisive national debates.

I met Joe Biden a few times in my former life. I was officially working, so had to be all professional and sensible and fuckity-dull. But if I could have, I would have LICKED HIS FACE.

I leave you with the three most important players of the last four years.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

what is the city but the people?

Here’s a fun fact about Marco Rubio, the 41-year-old Republican Senator from Florida: his first job was building cages for exotic birds.

He’s not the first politician to start small; Ronald Reagan washed tables in a women’s dormitory, Jimmy Carter worked on his father’s farm and Barack Obama worked in an ice-cream shop. (My first job was as a cashier in a supermarket. I would regularly restrain myself from slamming tins of baked beans onto the feet of kiddies who, ignored by harassed parents busy emptying enormous trolleys, would climb up to play on the conveyor belt.)

Now that the election is over and the GOP is hiding in a cupboard rubbing cream on its slapped arse, political buzz is focused on where the party goes now and who should take it there. Rubio is one of the young generation of Republicans being touted as a possible candidate for 2016.

A politician since the age of 28, Rubio came to national attention when he entered the Senate in 2010. Ticking all the boxes of the GOP youth wing – a conservative, Catholic son of Cuban immigrants, married with four shiny children, charming on the stump, looks good in chinos and pale blue button-down shirts – he had been thought of as a possible VP for Romney, and was given a high-profile speaking slot at the Republican National Convention.

rubioRubio is a small, neat man, rather stocky and pear-shaped. His hair, slightly fluffy at the front, looks like it may be receding. Yesterday I sat in the back row of a small room in a D.C. museum and watched him being interviewed. While he doesn’t have the physical presence of say, a Santorum or a Gingrich, he is quietly effective at stilling a room. Perhaps it is because he looks so young and unassuming; he wouldn’t look out of place in khaki shorts leading a troop of Boy Scouts.

When Rubio gives a speech, he pauses every now and then to make sure his point has hit home. He is funny, charismatic. When he is interviewed, however, he turns into Henry James; why use just one word when twenty will do? In amongst all the predictable guff he uttered (will you run in 2016? “I want to focus on being a real good US Senator”) I picked up the following words: kids, faith, struggle, dreams, success, belief, family, values, principles, jujitsu (yes he said that, respect). Brevity is not a characteristic that comes naturally to politicians, but Rubio better get used to not saying the same thing five different ways if he wants people to listen.

After the interview I attempted to write a list of the issues that Rubio had spoken about. It was easier to remember the names of all the boys I had kissed in my teens, and I had pretty much blanked out those pitiful years.

The only thing that really stuck in my mind was Rubio’s response to the question ‘is homosexuality a sin?’ He replied that his faith teaches that it is indeed a sin, as is lying, stealing, coveting your neighbour and wearing turtle-necks if you’re a guy (I made that bit up but damn, it should be a sin).

But wait, what’s this? You will be reassured that after condemning the homosexual population of America to a hell with no cocktails or show tunes, Rubio stressed that he isn’t going to get all judgey-wudjey on your gay ass. Glad he cleared that up.

Rubio and others such as Paul Ryan and Bobby Jindal are scrambling to distance themselves from the negative messages that oozed from Romney’s campaign. I am reminded of David Cameron’s attempts in 2005 to dispel the view that the Conservatives were the nasty party, a label that returns again and again. The GOP is still in shock that it misjudged the electorate so badly, but there is recognition that things must change within the party, as Rubio said yesterday: “We have to apply [our] principles to the 21st century“.

The GOP has its work cut out convincing the public that they can embrace, and speak for, all Americans. Rubio maybe the man to start that process. What do you think?


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment